Duric hits all the right notes on Chopin's Fantaisie
Clements' star has the Gold Cup on his mind
Leading jockey Vlad Duric was given high praise for his perfect handling in steering boom four-year-old CHOPIN'S FANTAISIE towards his fifth win on Sunday.
Drawn on the outer, the son of Pins, who started as the second-favourite ($16) after Cliff Brown's Mr Fatkid ($12), was one of the best away, but Duric immediately eased him off so he could get cover in behind the pair of Oxbow Sun (Wong Chin Chuen) and Bring Money Home (Oscar Chavez) in a one-out one-back position.
Duric had his mount travelling kindly on the bridle, and only began slipping more reins from the 600m.
As Chopin's Fantaisie glided forward, it was quite clear the talented galloper would make his presence strongly felt inside the last 300m.
Trainer Michael Clements' rising star stormed to the front, but that trait where he cannot quite push clear once he lands in a striking position again surfaced.
From behind, Chairman (Alan Munro) was making quick inroads while further back, Magstock (Manoel Nunes) was turning in the eye-catching run of the race, but Chopin's Fantaisie shall not be passed as he hung on for dear life to score by a head from Chairman, whose rider unfortunately lost his whip in the concluding stages.
Magstock came from the clouds to run third another length away.
With Clements still away in South America, assistant-trainer Michael White was on hand to lead in the Jubilant Racing Stable-owned galloper to another rousing reception from his growing fan base.
"It was a super ride by Vlad. Everything went well," said White. "I told Vlad he should not be too far back from the wide gate and he did a great job to land in that spot.
"The Raffles Cup is next for him. The horse will then tell us if he can go for the Gold Cup."
Chopin's Fantaisie will bypass the first Leg of the Singapore Triple Crown series, the Group 1 Panasonic Kranji Mile (1,600m) on Oct 1 to head straight to the second Leg, the Group 1 Raffles Cup (1,800m) on Oct 22.
The last Leg, the Group 1 Dester Singapore Gold Cup (2,200m) will be run on Nov 12.
Duric has no doubt in his mind the gruelling stamina-sapping race will not find Chopin's Fantaisie out, but did admit that greenness was still his Achilles' heel.
"He's still very green, but he's an absolute racehorse. There is still a lot there to come from what he's shown us so far," said the Australian rider.
"He is a real stayer. He always digs deep, but we should look at the softer options heading towards races like the (Group 3) El Dorado Classic (2,200m), and hopefully he can show up on Gold Cup day."
With that fifth win from six runs, Chopin's Fantaisie has now shot past the $200,000 mark in stakes earnings for his owner, Mr Joshua Tan of Jubilant Racing No 4 Stable.